When the end song of Under the Hawthorn Tree came on, the cinema resounded with sobs and applause.
On a scale of 1 to 10, what scores did audience members give to the film?
"I'm 54 years old. I give it 10 out of 10."
"I'm 35. I give at least 9 point to this film."
"7 or 8 points I think. I'm 28 years old."
Clearly, the film seems aimed to attract mostly female audiences, especially those over 30. Here's why...
"I've read the original novel of the film. This is a very touching and romantic story. The director also did a good job of interpreting it. I couldn't help crying when I was watching it."
"This film authentically reproduces how young people in the 1970s dealt with love and relationships. This is exactly what I said and did when I was young, repressing my emotions and not daring to fall in love."
Under the Hawthorn Tree is adapted from the love story of the same name which has been a hit on the internet since 2007. The film follows Jingqiu, a girl whose family has been under close scrutiny since her father was labeled a rightist, and Laosan, a boy with a promising future from a well-to-do family. As a director born in the 1950s, Zhang Yimou lived through the Cultural Revolution and when he read the novel, he found no problem in identifying with the writer.
"This is a film about pure and beautiful love. It is a story of incompleteness that can impress the audience, and let them savour the story after watching it."
Speaking of the male audience members, especially those who didn't read the original, they don't like the film as much as the female audience.
"I think the story is a little bit too simple. The relationship ends too quickly. Hardly anything happens between the couple."
"This is not a typical Zhang Yimou film. I couldn't feel his personal emotions in it, which is a big disappointment. In addition, this kind of romantic film is never my type."
Listening to their reasons, a middle-aged audience member by their side showed understanding.
"Young people now live in an open society; they don't know why during 1970s, the characters suppressed their emotions and dared not be together. I think the film may only strike a chord with those who lived through that period of time."
Facing the pros and cons from moviegoers, Zhang Yimou's attitude was relaxed. He didn't have any expectations about what the film would make in ticket sales. As he said, different people have a different understanding of pure love, and what he can do is to give his own interpretation by the film.
For CRI, I'm Zhong Qiu.
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